OpenAI’s ChatGPT Overcomes Italian Privacy Hurdle

At the end of March, Italy’s privacy regulator imposed a ban on ChatGPT, citing the collection of nonessential information without age categorization, effectively contravening the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Subsequently, the regulator demanded that OpenAI cease providing services in Italy, resulting in Italian IP addresses being met with unavailability notifications when attempting to access ChatGPT.

Recently, Italy’s privacy regulator announced the lifting of the ban on ChatGPT, as the platform has preliminarily addressed the issues pointed out by the regulator following necessary modifications. Post-revisions, ChatGPT has been reinstated in Italy, with users now required to provide their age during registration.

OpenAI’s solutions are straightforward: first, users can choose whether to share their conversation content with OpenAI for subsequent AI model training, a feature available not only to Italian users but also to those in other markets who can actively disable data sharing; second, users must specify their age when registering for ChatGPT. If the user is under 18 years old, an option will appear inquiring if they are between 13 and 17 years old, requiring parental or legal guardian consent for registration.

Naturally, one might wonder about users below the age of 13; the answer is that those who enter an age below 13 will be prohibited from registering.

Nonetheless, since the Italian regulator initiated these changes, Italian users are granted additional “privileges,” such as the ability to view which information ChatGPT uses and how that information is collected for AI training purposes.

The issues encountered by ChatGPT are likely to arise for platforms like Microsoft’s Bing Chat and Google Bard, prompting these companies to proactively improve their services and avert potential bans from the European Union.